“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the shelter of the complete creation and from whose lotus navel the whole creation is manifested, immediately knocked the crown from the head of Kamsa and grabbed his long hair in His hand. He then dragged Kamsa from his seat to the wrestling dais and threw him down. Then Krishna at once straddled his chest and began to strike him over and over again. Simply from the strokes of His fist, Kamsa lost his vital force.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 43)
Kamsa had a choice. A privilege not every person is fortunate enough to receive, the king of Mathura knew his fate. A voice from the sky, appearing out of nowhere, informed Kamsa that his death would arrive through the eighth child of his sister Devaki, who had just married Vasudeva.
In fact, it was on the way to escorting the new couple home that the voice gave the warning. A wise person understands that death is inevitable. What goes up must come down. That which started must at some point wind down and come to a complete stop.
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)
The full spectrum of changes, from start to finish, is known as a lifetime. The effects are on the body only; the individual within is unchanged. They are identified as spirit soul. It is a spark of the spiritual energy known as Brahman, and the same kind of spark animates every kind of living thing.
Kamsa now knew the means of death, but instead of accepting his fate he tried to nullify it. The thinking went that if the instrument of death would be a child born from a specific womb, why not get rid of that person altogether? Not considering that this was his own sister and that killing an innocent person went against morality in any way it was defined, the wicked ruler was ready to carry out his plan.
Some timely intervention by Vasudeva saved Devaki, for the time being. Later on the plans changed slightly. Kamsa started killing the children. Each one as it took birth got thrown against stone. Infanticide, really no different than the modern-day practice of abortion, was used to help cancel destiny.
Despite the best brainpower applied, even with the most well-laid plans, the Supreme Lord is always one step ahead. No one can outsmart Him; not even a demigod. They have more power at their disposal; power greater than what Kamsa possessed.
Lord Indra, the king of heaven, tried to take out Krishna through a devastating rainstorm. Brahma, the creator, attempted to bewilder the child of Devaki by stealing His friends and cows. Kamsa, too, used the help of asuras possessing mystical powers. They came as a whirlwind, a poison-giving witch, a giant bull, and other such deadly forces.
Each aggressor met defeat at the hands of Krishna. Indra and Brahma were spared severe punishment, since they are ultimately on the side of good. After every asura was defeated, eventually the time came for Kamsa to see death in person.
On the pretense of competing in a wrestling match, Shri Krishna arrived in Mathura. He made His way towards where Kamsa was seated, and in a single swift, but powerful blow with the fist the words from that voice in the sky proved truthful.
Death is the guaranteed end for every person, so Kamsa’s was a special case. He was informed beforehand and he also saw the hand of the Divine right at the time of quitting the body. This was a unique kind of mercy reserved for the wickedest characters, who are actually devotees sent from the spiritual world.
“Just as a tree starts to blossom during the proper season, so the doer of sinful deeds inevitably reaps the horrible fruit of their actions at the appropriate time.” (Lord Rama speaking to Khara, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 29.8)
The pastimes are instructive, as they reveal that no matter how much man may try, they cannot thwart the Divine will. Better to be on the side of good than evil. The bad guys may rise to prominence for a time, but the difficult and painful crash to the bottom, the just reward for their sinful deeds, will occur when appropriate.
To nature of deeds proportionate,
And arriving at time appropriate.
Like with King Kamsa the case,
Who tried destiny to erase.
Death from within family to come,
Eighth child of sister the one.
From Krishna with punch delivering,
Fortunate all things considering.
Categories: krishna pastimes